Andreas Baader was one of the leaders of the left-wing militant group Red Army Faction (RAF), active in Germany in the 1970’s and beyond. The group is responsible for a number of acts of terrorism, such as kidnappings, bombings, and assassinations. Eleven of RAF’s members, including Baader, were in Stammheim prison in the Fall of 1977 when RAF became particularly active (known as the ‘German Autumn’). The prison instituted a communication ban and RAF prisoners were unable to communicate with the outside world, including their lawyers. On Oct 13, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacked Lufthansa flight 181 and demanded the release of the eleven RAF members.
On Oct 18, Baader was found dead of a gunshot wound. Prison officials stated that Baader and three other RAF members engaged in a suicide pact, although one member, Irmgard Möller, survived and always maintained that there was no pact. The circumstances surrounding Baader’s death are suspicious.
Nerdrum painted Baader as a martyr for the Communist cause, dressed in white cloth like Jesus at the Crucifixion. Nerdrum himself had left-leaning politics in the 70’s but was criticized for going too far in valorizing a known terrorist.